Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Better Temporally than Existentially Late

I am not a slow driver, although I am certainly not a speed demon either. My philosophy is that speed limits exist for a good reason -- safety.

I obey the speed limit near schools, for example, because there are a lot of children around and I don't want to hurt anyone. At a lower speed I have a better chance of being able to stop if a person runs into the road -- and a lower chance of hurting them if I'm unable to stop. I also obey the speed limit on busy residential streets, a behavior that is somewhat influenced by having lived on a busy street myself for more than six years.

Sometimes, particularly on the open road or a limited access highway, I have been known to speed -- rarely more than ten mph above the speed limit, but definitely above the marked limit. I've also driven well above the speed limit and (I must admit) somewhat recklessly when I believed that my passenger was having a heart attack and needed to get to the hospital RIGHT AWAY. And Jeff drove like a maniac to the hospital when Vinny and I sped away in an ambulance after our week-old son stopped breathing.

But if I'm late to work, or to an appointment? Not gonna speed. I'd rather be temporally late than existentially late, as it were. My life and the lives of those around me are too precious to risk on the possibility that I will be punished or miss part of an appointment. I'd rather step into the movie theater five minutes late than not step into it at all.

All this was brought up in my mind earlier this evening when someone in a hurry felt compelled to pass me despite my 50 mph in a 45 zone, the wet, slippery road, and the double yellow line prohibiting passing. I slowed down a bit to let him by, and waved as he passed. I hope he got to his destination safely and soundly, especially if there was an emergency.


Madeleine said...

You have a good point.

I initially read this as "temporarily" late, which works almost as well.

ScienceGirl said...

I've been trying to impress this on my Mom for some time now, but, a new driver with a new-found freedom (who drives like a teenager - inexperienced, clumsy and constantly pushing the limits), she just doesn't get it. Or maybe it has something to do with taking advice from one's child...